The odd-even rule will be back in Delhi the day after Diwali and schools closures has been extended up to Class 11 for this week in view of the rising pollution levels, State Environment Minister Gopal Rai said today.
All schools will be shut across the national capital except Classes 10 and 12 till November 10, the minister said. Currently, only classes up to Class 5 are suspended in view of the deteriorating air quality.
Delhi remains wrapped in a thick blanket of toxic smog for nearly a week now, prompting authorities to stop entry of diesel trucks and ban construction activities in the city under Stage-4 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).
The ban on BS3 petrol and BS4 diesel vehicles will also continue, said Mr Rai, elaborating other measures taken by his government, including banning crackers and installing smog guns.
The odd-even rule, which has been the Arvind Kejriwal government's flagship move in fighting pollution for the past few years, will now be back for a week on November 13, the day after Diwali.
Under this rule, only vehicles with registration numbers ending with an odd digit will be allowed on Delhi roads on odd-number days and those with even digits will be allowed on even-number days.
The need to extend the odd-even rule beyond November 20 will reviewed later, the minister said.
The overall air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 488 this morning in Delhi, much above the upper level set by the World Health Organisation. Some of the worst-affected areas included RK Puram (466), ITO (402), Patparganj (471), and New Moti Bagh (488).
With the AQI hovering around 500, the quality of the air that people are breathing in Delhi and neighbouring cities is equivalent to smoking 25-30 cigarettes a day.